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Masekela succumbs to prostate cancer

In a rare interview, legendary musician Hugh Masekela sat down with TshisaLIVE in July 2017, just months before his death on Tuesday.

Journalist Chrizelda Kekana spoke to Bra Hugh about the reason he was so selective with media interviews and his desire to do what he was passionate about. Bra Hugh told TshisaLIVE that he just wanted to impart his knowledge and didn't bother too much about his "legacy". "I don't have any ambitions [about my legacy]. I just feel that it's work that I am supposed to do, otherwise my ancestors will punish me. Why? Because I got so much from them. But I don't have an ambitious future about 'Hugh Masekela's legacy'."

Bra Hugh said he knew he was living through his "bonus" years and wanted to live it day by day. "I don't want to live beyond where I am now… and I live it day by day. And, I think once you get too involved with your legacy and all that sh*t, you are swallowed by your own ego."

“There will never be another Hugh Masekela. That’s how cruel death is but of course all of us will follow soon or later. We see a lot of people close to us passing on but we never come to terms with death or get used to it. It always in one way or the other break our hearts. It is death, a situation whereby a person vanishes from your eyes and from the surface of earth forever. Simply put, death shocks and devastates us. It’s a fact, THE LEGENDARY HUGH MASEKELA IS NO MORE.”

On Tuesday, Monageng co-owner of Millennium Jazz restaurant and host of a jazz music show on Gabz FM every Sunday dubbed “The Joy of Jazz” remembers seeing a Facebook post from one Shike Olsen in the early morning of Tuesday, when Bra Hugh died – “Am I the only one getting the reports that Bra Hugh has passed on? I hope this is a hoax.”

“Of course Shike was not the only one who had heard of the passing on of our beloved father, grandfather, brother, uncle and great music teacher, composer, arranger and performer and activist par excellence. Indeed a lot of people had already come across the shocking and unfortunate news but just that many were still reeling at the news of his death, with shock.”

Affectionately known as Uncle Shima, the avid jazz aficionado added, “For a fact we all wish to celebrate the lives of people who have done it all in life, touched our hearts and impacted positively on us but as human beings, the first inevitable feeling you get is that of sorrow and grief before pulling yourself together and thinking of celebrating the person’s life! It’s natural to grief under such circumstances and I’m among those who find nothing wrong with people who mourn and grief the passing of their beloved ones and even do so by crying. I say to such persons, yes, go on and cry, so long as you don’t mourn and grief forever.”

On Tuesday night, Seabelo Modibe reminded us on his Facebook post to watch a tribute and repeat of Hugh Masekela’s live performance at the Market Theatre via Mzansi Magic Music channel and oh boy, what a spiritual and moving performance of the man we will never meet again on this planet.”

“He was accompanied on stage by the likes of Khaya Mahlangu on saxophone, our very own Bro Blackie John Selolwane on lead guitar, Bass was Fana Zulu and Ezbie Moilwa from Mafikeng etc. I fully concur with Seabelo when he continued to say ‘Dear Hon President… (Sic)…Your Excellency President Mokgweetsi Masisi, please honour this man with a badge, let the Presidential Honours be bigger in 2018.’ However, I would like to advocate that let’s honour them whilst they are still alive especially in direct reference to Bro John Selolwane who has been arguably Botswana’s music ambassador.”

“Another friend of mine Mcjon Mosenene posited ‘The Choo Choo has stopped moving. The flugelhorn has gone silent. Jazz has been thrown into darkness.” “My humble request would be to humbly invite Bro Jonas Gwangwa to sing, ‘Don’t let the sun dawn on you’. I say this because within a short period, we have lost a number of great musicians in the likes of Ray Phiri of Stimela, Soares Katumbela, Errol Dyers and many others. Indeed a true legend has fallen – one of the great Architects of Afro Jazz. He had a soft spot for Batswana. He taught and mentored many. He has performed in this country more than any South African legend I have known.”

“He was to perform yet again at the Hamptons in March this year but his deteriorating health got in the way. I have told a couple of my friends including the late Soares (MHSRIP) that Bra Hugh didn’t take nonsense from anybody. My first close encounter with him many years back was at Moretele Park’s Joy of Jazz Festival where he was performing. The sound was not good and he played only two songs and left the stage saying the show promoter may keep his money and he would keep his music. After many other groups had performed, the sound was next to perfection and the jazz maestro came back on stage and did what does best.”

“In one of his shows in Botswana, we went back stage with a number of friends to wait for him so that we could greet him. While on stage, he spotted us waiting back stage. There was this pretty lady who stood there with us. The lady was a bit excited and kept on shouting Hugh Masekela’s name. Bra Hugh looked back and said loudly on the mike – ‘You are making noise and you should say Bra Hugh because I’m not your cousin. Also go and take off that dead people's hair (Tsamaya oye go ntsha moriri oo wa baswi).’ The poor lady cried, embarrassed and went to her car and slept throughout the entire show.”

“I also remember at one point at one of his shows where I was not spared. I was talking to him and standing very close to him and he loudly said, ‘Guys, please tell Shimmy that I don’t need his showers! This meant as I was talking drops of saliva oozed out of my mouth. I was truly embarrassed but unlike the lady I didn’t cry or leave the festival. Bro Hugh, the Father of South Africa Jazz, was a marvel to watch on stage. Even at the time when he was living in the evening of his days, he could be seen going down (maget-down) on stage better than those who were half his age.

Rest in Peace Bra Hugh for you have seen it all, done it all and you were larger than life. You enjoyed life to the fullest and you taught us a lot and your music will live on forever since you are leaving behind scores of incredible albums. There will never be another Hugh Masekela.”

Uncle  Shima – The Joy of Jazz, Gabz FM

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WeekendLife

Fashion without Borders flops

26th October 2020
FASHION WITHOUT BORDERS 2020

Fashion makes a statement, which is why Fashion without Borders tries by all means to get all amazing young designers to create dresses to fit every personality- from princess to punk, and everything in between.

Pretty obvious though, the 2020 edition flopped. It didn’t come as a surprise because the taxing COVID-19 pandemic has had overwhelming impacts on almost everything in the world.

Just when we thought Fashion without Borders 2020 will come much better than the previous tedious one, we were floored to see that there was little to no difference. The show was held at the most famous Molapo Crossing Stanbic Piazza, which without doubt was a perfect outdoor venue to host a fashion show, it didn’t however look like it was a fashion show filled with glitz and glam, if anything the show looked more like a public meeting.

The venue lack creativity and unruffled ambience. There were few chairs lined perfectly with a distance of two meters in between as a way of observing COVID-19 health protocols, but it looked more of a wedding than a fashion show.

As if that wasn’t startling enough, some important guests were told that there are no chairs for them to occupy. They had no choice but to stand on their feet the entire two shows, unacceptable and unprofessional for an event of its magnitude.

The Piazza is paved with light brownish small bricks that nearly made half of the models tumble. They kept on trembling, quaking and walking like new born calves, it was painful to watch to say the least. A ramp would have solved this issue.

Fashion without Borders is such a prodigious and immense esteemed fashion event that shouldn’t be seen with lot of glitches, especially that it features international designers from as far as Nigeria. The show was divided into two phases.

Attendees had to purchase two tickets should they want to attend both shows. There wasn’t really much of a difference between the two shows though.Security guards were all over trying to make sure everyone has the right tag for the second show, and people felt hassled.

As always, there were goodie bags with some nice gifts in them to be given to attendees at the fashion show. Some folks got their hands on the gifts and while others left out probably because the providers felt whichever way about that particular person.

I was reliably informed that some of the ‘big’ organizers were on quarantine and only underlings had to dance to the music. Some of them, according to a key witness, irked some members of the media. The media came in great numbers to support the event, like always, only for them to be treated less than.

Some of them left their cameras on and the ‘big’ organizers were not so happy about this from their quarantine centres. We just hope they recovered from the trauma of the COVID-19 contact tracing, as well as the droning, muddled event they threw this year.

In the fashion sense, a lot of folks felt it lacked substance. From the theme itself “The Phygital Experience”, most attendees were already lost, having no clue what it meant or how to respond to it.

Some felt the designers brought collections with less creativity, which spoke with little to no volume, while others were not fascinated by what was physically and digitally presented by the designers and models.

 

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WeekendLife

Surviving breast cancer

26th October 2020
Surviving breast cancer-Otshepheng Mthimkhulu

Breast cancer has been a nightmare for most women globally, and according to World Health Organization (WHO), the condition will continue claiming lives of many for years to come.

For Otshepheng Mthimkhulu, a 36-year old police officer at Ramotswa, had her life turned upside down by the illness. It has been a miserable reality getting to know that she has breast cancer, and for the rest of her life, she will be surviving with a single breast.

The small blood stains on her right breast stirred her to go see the doctor, who then recommended pain killers to ease the agony. Not knowing what she is suffering from, Mthimkhulu was told to come for check-up the next month which ultimately failed to give her a diagnosis.

It was only when she was getting seriously concerned about this condition that she followed up on the check-ups for the next six months. After being sent from pillar to post pertaining to mammogram that she was supposed to undergo, she finally got tested at a private hospital where she tested and did a biopsy.

“Unfortunately the results came back and I was told I have a metaplastic carcinoma breast cancer on stage 3,” she said.With her worse fear a reality, Mthimkhulu started her chemotherapy which took eight circles. “After the last circle I decided that I was not going for surgery because at the time, I was on training at the police college.

Lot of questions flocked my mind, lost in thoughts how I am going to face the world with only a single breast. That was the saddest time of my life.”Mthimkhulu had to do mastectomy and start another chemotherapy Herceptin because her hormones tested positive. She did not know what was next, only to be told that the cancer is now in her lungs.

Questions came rising and falling, and no answers were close enough. She was devastated, her dreams were crumpled and her life carried up-side-down. Quizzed on how she survived all the way through, she told Weekendlife that she got a little of inspiration from a series she watched, saying that she learnt that actually, there are other complicated conditions people are suffering and dying from, and cancer can be much better.

“I then started opening up to people and telling them about breast cancer. I earned great support from my close associates, something that gave me hope. At one point I met a woman who introduced me to a fighter group that abetted us with everything we needed.

It was a consecration I must say, because most of us felt much better and alive. Learning that we have breast cancer was just a fairy-tale to us.”They say every woman needs a man. Mthimkhulu found her husband who has been supportive and courageous throughout this journey. She said there are other substantial women who offered artificial breast, wigs and counselling.

No one ever told Mthimkhulu that this will be smooth sailing nor did she expect it to be. She went through overwhelming experiences that made her hopeless at times. According to her, at times her doctor’s appointments would be cancelled last minute. As much as that can be discouraging, she held on nonetheless.

“I started experiencing the side effects of the chemotherapy when I lost my hair, nails and skin complexion. I was always fatigued and stressed most of the times and I was always on sick leave. This was fracturing because I never thought at one point I will be living with cancer,” she said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Award-Winning Youth Activist, Omphemetse Mmolai, through her organization Berekela Botswana Monana in collaboration with LEGABIBO will be hosting breast cancer survivors, well-wishers, and other relevant stakeholders for breast cancer awareness event in Lobatse this Saturday.

Mmolai told Weekendlife reporter Tlhabo Kgosiemang that there will be a hill climbing exercise meant to sensitize the public about the breast cancer condition, adding that the Lobatse DHMT and LEGABIBO organizations will be having pertinent presentations.

“I have been involved in different activities geared at addressing various issues that affect the youth, women and girls. It is significant to note that these activities were conducted in Lobatse, so this month as it is the time to raise awareness about breast cancer, that will be my main focus.”

Quizzed on why hill climbing, she said this is a way of showing hardships of what breast cancer survivors go through. This is to say they comprehend the circumstances they are being challenged with, and that they are not alone in this fight.

 

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A.T.I: Batswana’s Judas Iscariot

19th October 2020
Atasaone Molemogi aka

Atasaone Molemogi, who goes by the stage name of A.T.I, is yet again making headlines and trending on social media platforms.

The eccentric and somewhat lose cannon artist is under fire for the stunts he pulled early this year. A.T.I had gone over and above to enlighten and fight for Batswana’s rights against according to him, foreigners who have monopolised the country.

So much so Atasaone recorded a video ranting and hurling insults while in front of Satar Dada’s Motor Centre at Fairground Mall. That was one of his many episodes. However, the one that gave him the ‘struggle icon’ persona was when he was arrested for making a video in front of the State House, this landed the dear lad in the cells of Urban Police Station and later transferred to Central Police Station.

Batswana gathered at the Central Police to demonstrate and demand the maverick be released. A.T.I became the Mandela of Botswana, the voice of the voiceless, the Messiah Batswana needed. A.T.I could not become any bigger till another outspoken personality stepped on the stage, Duma Gideon Boko, lawyer and President of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The aberrant lawyer did not disappoint, especially when he flamboyantly swung his gown on like Superman in front of the press. This was the moment, Botswana’s two outspoken and nonconformists were wearing their capes to save the ordinary citizen from years of being subjected to mediocracy.

Molemogi had Batswana believe that indeed they were being treated unfairly in their own country and incited many to take up arms and fight for a better Botswana for Batswana. The people stood rock solid behind the maverick artist.

That is until A.T.I pulled the rug under their feet and went ahead and met Tumiso Rakgare, Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture. The very same Minister he vehemently declined to meet, hell-bent on only having an audience with the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi.

What transpired between Rakgare and A.T.I is not known, but any Tom, Dick and Harry can guess that A.T.I, one way or another, was enticed by something said or done by the Minister because the recluse was as silent as a lamb after the meet.

Now, this publication by no means implies that Rakgare offered Atasaone anything valuable but observing the cries of the masses it may be deducted to something along those lines.All this however happened mid this year and anyone would think that it would be old news and a closed chapter, not to be.

The public cannot for the life of them get over how A.T.I used them to push his agenda and then leave them hanging. A sin unforgiveable in the eyes of Batswana. And so the masses have to have their displeasure made known.

A.T.I has been awarded a new name, Judas Iscariot. The infamous follower of Jesus Christ who sold the latter to the Jews for 30 pieces of silver. Batswana made the reference having deducted that they and their dreams have been sold in the same way Christ was sold off. A.T.I has sabotaged and sold the struggle, for what or how much is still not known.

While people find it hard to understand why ATI threw in the towel, the controversial singer seems unbothered and does not regret anything. He however cited that he is not fond of the name ‘Judas Iscariot’. He further stated that people should understand that it is easy for him to get lost in the midst of everything.

A.T.I shared with this publication that he needed to start somewhere in order to meet the President. He further mentioned to this publication that they discussed how best they can assist the youth and he was telling the Minister about his clothing line, and asking for support from the minister. None of the things mentioned have materialized however.

In his defence he said, “We need to be able to save ourselves before we can be able to save others. People should stop laughing at people who supported me and they should stop calling me Judas Iscariot. The reason why I was going to war when the year began, was because I needed security and I needed our leaders to give me answers.

I was scared I wanted more communication. With time I noticed that I am losing myself. No one told me what to do but I did what I did and I did exactly how l felt it was best,” he said.“A lot of people felt I am their answer, no! I am not anybody’s answer that is why when I was still at it I noticed the saviour mentality. I felt I was back at it again.

I cannot try to save the world all the time. You cannot change the world that don’t see the need to change their mental state.

At the same time the people I am trying to do it for, are still stuck in 89. I did it for the people I needed to do it for and for the truest results to be visible.”

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